by Antonio Sini

When it comes time to get fit, we often find ourselves joining a health club or local gym, thinking we’re taking a step in the right direction, but are we really setting ourselves up for failure?  For someone who’s not in such great shape, and maybe a little embarrassed by their lack of fitness, a health club can be very intimidating.  Studies show that as many as 7 out of 10 new gym members get frustrated, confused and discouraged after just 3 months.  As a personal trainer and former fitness manager for some of the country’s largest health clubs, I’ve witnessed this all too often.

If there is one piece of advice I can give you before you decide to go out and join a gym or health club, it is to consider hiring a personal trainer.  The cost of a trainer is worth it when you realize the many benefits.  A good trainer will evaluate your unique needs and set progressive goals to help you achieve success.  The personalized attention and education you gain is invaluable.  They will help you take ownership of your health and learn in the process.  Think how confident this will make you feel when you want to work out on your own.

Most health clubs have their own trainers and will offer you a complimentary session with one if you join.  This option is ok but be careful.  Do not just let someone assign a trainer to you without first meeting that trainer and speaking with them.  It is very common for gyms to hire trainers more for their ability to talk people into purchasing sessions and making sales than for their exercise knowledge.  You want to make sure the person you work with is experienced, knowledgeable and, most importantly, enthusiastic about their profession.  You have to actually like your trainer; how they speak, what they say and how they treat you as a person.  It’s important to feel a sense of trust from the very beginning.

Let me also make a point of saying that great trainers come in all shapes and sizes.  I know its cliché but don’t judge a book by its cover.  Just because a trainer looks like a fitness model doesn’t necessarily mean they have the knowledge to give you the kind of workout you need.  Look for a trainer who has broad range of expertise.  The best trainers know and incorporate many different styles into their clients exercise programs.  If you really want to find a great trainer, go to a private personal training studio.  These studio are staffed by certified and knowledgeable professionals; highly educated trainers who are truly dedicated to helping their clients.  You can feel confident that you are getting quality service and the most knowledge.  Before you know it you’ll have the confidence to walk into any health club and take your fitness to the next level.